Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken

Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken

It has been a hectic week and I have not cooked at all this week, until tonight! I’ve been dying to make Thai red curry chicken, so I looked at several different recipes. All the recipes had these five ingredients in common: chicken, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste (I used sauce), red bell pepper and fresh basil leaves. I added and eliminated some ingredients to suit my tastes, trying to keeping it simple and healthy as possible. To make it easy, I used frozen organic rice. I can’t wait for my daughter to try it at the end of the month, when she comes home for spring break. It is one of her favorite dishes!

Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoon organic canola oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 organic red bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup organic chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5) ounce can organic coconut milk
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Thai red curry sauce or 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves + whole basil leaves for garnish
  • 1 (10 ounce) package organic jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions

Directions:

  1. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Add the chicken tenderloins, cooking each side 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and slice into strips.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the final tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and simmer.
  3. While vegetables are simmering, in a large saucepan heat the coconut milk, Thai red curry sauce and fish oil. Once sauce starts to boil, add the vegetables and chicken. Stir well. Finally, add the basil and cook until heated through.
  4. Serve on top of the rice. Garnish with basil leaves. 4 servings.

Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

I cannot remember the last time I ordered some really good Kung Pao Chicken. It’s probably been over a year since I even stepped into a Panda Express for some tasty, but not so healthy take-out. I guess it is a natural progression when you start cooking more at home with health in mind.

My inspiration for my dish came from an Epicurious post in July 2013, a recipe by Diana Kuan, author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, 2012 Ballantine Books. I used more commonly found ingredients and added the green beans in order to make it a one dish meal. The chicken was tender and slightly spicy and the green beans had a nice crunch to them. I cheated and used organic packaged frozen white rice, but this is optional. Chinese food is one cuisine I cannot eat without a little white rice!

Kung Pao Chicken with Green BeansIngredients:

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons organic high heat canola oil
  • 10 dried red chilies
  • ½ pound French green beans, cut 1-inch long pieces
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ⅓ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
  • Packaged frozen white or brown rice, prepared according to package instructions, (optional)

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade using a medium bowl. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, and corn starch, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the chicken, toss gently to coat. At room temperate, let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Using another bowl, make the sauce. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, corn starch and pepper. Stir, until sugar and cornstarch are combined and dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Over high heat, heat a wok or large frying pan. The pan is at the right temperature when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add green beans and stir-fry, until beans are heated through and tender crisp. Transfer beans to a dish and cover to keep warm.
  4. Heat wok or pan again over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add chilies, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until oil is slightly fragrant. Be careful not to burn the chilies. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the “white” part of green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the green beans. Pour in just enough sauce to coat the ingredients. Mix in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions. Serve with white rice or healthy brown rice, if desired. 4 servings.

Kung Pao Chicken with Green Beans

Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash

Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash

When I saw the all the wonderful bags of mixed baby squash at Costco, it brought to mind this recipe, “Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash,” in America’s Test Kitchen, Cooking Fresh, 2015. I couldn’t resist, so I bought one! The dish is a colorful mixture of zucchini, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes and is cooked with garlic, capers and fresh basil.  The sautéed chicken is seasoned with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. I love cooking with frozen chicken breast tenderloins, which I always have on hand in my freezer, because they thaw quickly. The tenderloins take only 3 minutes to cook on each side and they are always moist and tender. I hope that you will give this dish a try. It is so healthy and delicious to eat!

Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash

Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 9 chicken breast tenderloins or 4 (6 to 8 ounce) chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 yellow summer squash, quartered lengthwise and slice ¼-inch thick
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Using paper towels, pat dry the chicken. Sprinkle each breast or tenderloin with the Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. In a shallow dish, spread the flour and dredge the chicken.
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat, until just smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until nicely brown. For the tenderloins, cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer meat to a plate and cover with foil.
  3. Using the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add squash and cook until brown spots appear, approximately 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and capers and cook for 2 minutes, until tomatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in basil. Serve with chicken. 4 servings.

Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Squash

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts Recipe

I just got back from visiting the Portland Farmers’ Market at Portland State University. There was such an abundance of fresh, picture perfect zucchini, everywhere I went. Luckily, I am able to get decent zucchini at my local Trader Joe’s. This dish requires 2 pounds of this wonderful vegetable. In fact, this recipe could be made totally vegetarian by omitting the chicken. It is soaked for a couple of hours in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, cumin, lemon zest and lemon juice. The salad also has the flavors of peppery arugula and sweet raisins with the crunch of pine nuts. I modified Armand Arnal’s recipe in Food and Wine, April 2009, to suit my tastes and cooking style. If you are looking for a “summery” meal with only 6 minutes of cooking time, try this delicious and healthy dish!

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • ⅛ teaspoon organic ground cumin
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini (2 pounds), cut into 3x½-inch sticks
  • ¼ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 12 frozen chicken breast tenderloins, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula leaves

Directions:

  1. Using a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain.
  2. In a large glass bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, scant ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add zucchini and raisins. Toss thoroughly and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
  3. Using a shallow glass or ceramic dish, mix together the onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and juice of second lemon. Add chicken tenderloins and completely coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, turning a few times.
  4. Using a small nonstick pan, toast pine nuts over moderate heat, until golden brown, tossing occasionally for about 2 minutes. Transfer to small dish and let cool.
  5. Scrape off the onion on the chicken tenderloins. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned for about 3 minutes. Turn meat over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Slice the tenderloins on the bias, making thin strips.
  6. Serve on a large platter or on 4 individual plates, add arugula and marinated zucchini. Then add the chicken slices. Finally, sprinkle with raisins and pine nuts. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Healthier Chicken Madeira

Chicken Madeira 1

When my husband and I are not in the mood to cook, we often order take-out from the Cheesecake Factory, which is located very close to our home. Our favorite dish to order is their Chicken Madeira with its rich mushroom brown sauce and buttery mashed potatoes. They give such generous portions, that we only need to order one. With the success of my “Chicken Piccata,” I thought I could make a healthier version of this delicious dish.

As usual, I went to the internet to do my research. I found a Chicken Madeira recipe on Food.com by Todd Wilbur and adapted it to my tastes and cooking style. The recipe below is for two people, but you can easily double it. The chicken dish can be made gluten-free by omitting the flour and can be dairy-free by omitting the butter and the cheese. My husband and I absolutely loved this meal and I will be making it at least once a month from now on!

Chicken Madeira 2

Ingredients:

  • 6 frozen chicken breast tenderloins, thawed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1½ cups Madeira wine
  • 1 cup organic beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons organic butter
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese (2% reduced fat milk)
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes

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Directions:

  1. Pound chicken tenderloins ¼” thin. Sprinkle tenderloins with flour. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a large non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from heat. transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
  3. Using a small dish, “dissolve” the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Set aside.
  4. Steam asparagus over low-medium heat. Cook until al dente.
  5. Using the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn broiler on.
  7. Add broth, Madeira wine, butter and cornstarch to mushrooms. Cook until sauce thickens and is a rich brown color.
  8. Place cooked chicken in a foil lined pan suitable for broiling. Group the tenderloins in 3s. Sprinkle with cheese. Finally, place asparagus criss-cross. Place in oven and broil for about 3 minutes, until cheese has melted and lightly brown.
  9. On a large plate, spread hot mashed potatoes, so that the chicken will seat nicely on top of it. Add sauce. Repeat again. Serve immediately. 2 servings.

Chicken Madeira 3

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

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Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, so I thought I would try to make my own enchiladas without using the salty seasoning mix from the grocery store. I just love Mexican food—I was born on May 5th—and wanted to make a healthier low-fat version of this classic Mexican dish. In my search I found Martha Stewart’s Lighter Chicken Enchiladas Recipe, “Everyday Food”, published November 2008.

Surprisingly, the recipe doesn’t use any tomato sauce, but uses smokey chipotle chiles in adobo and cumin for the flavorful ingredients along with garlic. It uses lean and healthy chicken breast and reduced-sodium chicken broth. I used Trader Joe’s Lite Mexican Blend, instead of Monterey Jack cheese, to reduce the amount of fat. The only thing I would do differently the next time I make this dish is to make more of the sauce to use on the side! For those who desire a healthy and tasty enchilada, I would definitely recommend giving this dish a try!

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Ingredients:

  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 6 to 8 ounces each; (I used 8 chicken breast tenderloins)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon organic cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotles in adobo (see Blogger’s Note)
  • 16 ounces organic reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
  • ½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese or Lite Mexican Blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Using a large skillet with a lid, bring 1-inch salted water to a boil. Add chicken, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes (depending upon thickness of chicken). Remove from heat and set aside. Continue to let chicken steam with lid on for 10 to 14 minutes, until opaque. Transfer to bowl and shred meat using two forks.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. While chicken is cooking, make the sauce in a medium saucepan. Heat oil over medium heat, add garlic and cook until fragrant for about 1 minute. Add flour, cumin and chipotles and whisk together for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 to 8 minutes, until sauce is slightly thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine 1 cup of sauce with chicken, mix well.
  4. Warm-up tortillas in microwave, using a double layer of dampen paper towels, cover the 8 tortillas and cook until hot for about 1 minute.
  5. Fill each tortilla with chicken, rolling tightly and placing seam on the bottom of baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce and top with cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly for 15 to 20 minutes. (I covered the dish with foil after 10 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes, then garnish with sliced chives or green onions, if desired.

Blogger’s Note: I like to freeze unused chipotles in labeled snack bags, placing 2 chiles in each bag for future use.

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Healthy General Tso’s Chicken

Healthy General Tso's Chicken

I love Chinese food, but many times I have found the food to be too oily for my taste. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart, Everyday Food, October 2008; but I modified it quite a bit. Instead of using 3 tablespoons sugar, I only used 1 tablespoon honey. I reduced the amount of garlic, red pepper flakes and vegetable oil. Carrots were added for color and sweetness. The chicken was amazingly moist and tender with a delicate crispness from the cornstarch and egg white mixture. Healthy organic brown makes this a complete and delicious meal!

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Ingredients:

  • I package Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice, cooked according to directions
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound snow peas, ends trimmed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 2 large organic egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 chicken breast tenderloins ( approx. ¾ pound), flattened ½” and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoons organic sunflower oil

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ½ cup water until smooth. Add garlic, ginger, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, snow peas and carrots and toss well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk thoroughly egg whites, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken and toss well.
  4. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken (removing excess cornstarch mixture) to pan and cook until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
  5. Using the same frying pan, add snow pea and carrot mixture, cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and mix well. Serve immediately with rice. 4 servings.

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